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Society of Women Engineers

SWE Leader Receives ASEE National Teaching Award

Mary Verstraete of University of Akron is one of 15 outstanding engineering educators honored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Published On: July 2016
Mary Verstraete

Dr. Mary Verstraete receives her teaching award from Dr. Joseph J. Rencis, president of the American Society for Engineering Education.

By Gretchen Hein, Ph.D., Society of Women Engineers Adviser, Department of Engineering Fundamentals, Michigan Technology University

Dr. Mary Verstraete from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Akron was one of 15 outstanding engineering and engineering technology educators honored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The National Outstanding Teaching Award provides “national recognition to an engineering or engineering technology educator for excellence in outstanding classroom performance, contributions to the scholarship of teaching, and participation in ASEE Section meetings and local activities.”

Her Teaching Philosophy

“My teaching philosophy is based on how I was taught engineering over 30 years ago, not only what was done well and helped me, but also what was done poorly and how much it caused me to struggle,” she said.  “I considered myself a ‘typical’ engineering student — I was good in math and science and I learned best when I was shown how things worked and taught how to solve problems. Even in today’s information age, I believe most college students require someone to lead and advise them. These two concepts form the basis of my teaching philosophy – visual, hands-on learning and competent academic advising.”

“The best thing about being a teacher is the ability to help others to achieve their goals and aspirations,” adds Verstraete. “The potential to make even a small difference in someone’s life is the reason I get out of bed each morning.”

More information regarding her award can be found here.

SWE Leadership

Verstraete has been an active member in SWE and The University of Akron’s SWE section adviser since 1993. She served as the chair of the Women in Academia Committee in 2013 and is currently on the SWE editorial board.

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